Following the Government announcement for England in its Covid-19 Response Spring 2021 – the Roadmap out of Lockdown, BCA offers the following synopsis about how this may affect caving. This applies only to England; cavers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should consult the advice offered by the devolved governments for those regions.
Cavers in all areas should refer to their Regional Councils for any specific advice pertinent to that area.
This is when the “the rule of 6” outdoors returns but it comes with a caveat to minimise travel. There has been no clarification of “minimise travel” which BCA will continue to monitor and update people on.
Step 2 should be more significant as it allows use of self-contained accommodation i.e. possibly Club huts on a single household basis, plus the “rule of 6” outdoors but with the caveat still, to minimise travel. This would appear to be a contradiction as if you minimise travel you are unlikely to need you use self-catering accommodation and an issue to clarify as the date approaches.
Step 3 is significant as restrictions allow up to 2 groups of 6 or two households to meet indoors and stay overnight potentially allowing more use of Club huts. Additionally, there appear to be no travel restrictions and with upto 30 people meeting outdoors, the situation should open up for a return to more “normal” caving activities.
Step 4 more or less clears the way to life as we knew it pre-Covid although it is likely mitigations such as social distancing, hand washing etc. will remain.
There is one big caveat to all this, that Covid infection rates continue to decrease; the above Roadmap could change if rates go into reverse; so, nothing concrete about the above but encouraging and maybe allows for some tentative planning.
Covid transmission mitigations i.e. social distancing, handwashing, quarantining of equipment and face mask wearing should continue to be implemented until advised otherwise. Cavers should also be sensitive to locals in the areas they visit.